IT’S all change on the buses.

There has been a shake-up of Dorset’s subsidised bus network to save money with a number of services withdrawn.

The changes, which followed public consultation, come into effect on Sunday, April 6.

Across Dorset, 39 routes will be changed, and 39 left unaffected. Ten routes have been completely withdrawn and twelve Saturday services have been removed.

The changes mean that Dorset County Council achieves a saving of £822,000 from its £2.8 million bus subsidy expenditure. The saving is needed because councils no longer receive Government funding to support non-commercial bus routes.

Initial proposals were drawn up about the routes most likely to be affected following a survey of passenger numbers, which highlighted that many routes were under used and not providing value for money for the Dorset council taxpayer.

Cllr Hilary Cox, the council’s Cabinet member for environment, said: “We have taken note of the 1,200 responses and listened to all the comments and petitions from local residents. For example, we have worked with several communities to ensure that they will continue to have a Saturday service, even though this meant – in some cases – we have had to reduce services during the week.

“This review is not something we have undertaken lightly, and we fully understand that some bus services offer a lifeline to residents without transport of their own. Unlike many councils, we are still putting a substantial amount of money – £2 million – into supporting local bus services

“And as part of this package we are also investing an additional £25,000 to help community transport schemes start up. There are already 60 voluntary car schemes, dial-a-rides and other community transport initiatives in existence across the county, helping overcome rural isolation.”